From the swelter of summer to the shiver of winter, it remains a constant to those of us who follow the news.
I say “those of us who follow those news” not to condescend to the Honey Boo Booists who dwell among us, but to tell you what it’s like to hear of an injustice, feel a emphatic sense of outrage, make phone calls and seek clarity and then wait, oftentimes in frustration and silence, for the issue to reach its deserved conclusion.
I remember this vividly before the fall of the judges in Luzerne County. There was a whisper of “something big” coming. Time slowly stretched from Memorial Day to the end of the following January, waiting for the noose to tighten and the bad guys to be formally charged. Finally, a long awaited beginning of the breaking of the bondage and patronage that binds our area to its political hierarchy. This was the chance for freedom, and many people who bore the scars and stories may have felt vindicated, and a lot of us shared I their success, hoping that better days were ahead.
The big question now is: Are they? We’ve had judges go to jail. We’ve had county commissioners, sitting and post-term, sent to the big house. The most powerful and influential state senator from our area, the longest serving member of that body in history for crying out loud, is incarcerated.
We cannot be satisfied, however. A state senator, defiantly demanding his “day in court,” has a defense strategy that has prolonged the moment. A well-known developer’s obligation to pay society back for his misdeeds still walks free, albeit trying to make up for his role in this mess through contributions to heal the community and charitable endeavors. A vendor for the City of Wilkes-Barre appears to have violated the terms of his towing contract, re-victimizing those whose cars were stolen and charging them to retrieve them, against the ink he signed on the paper. A Lackawanna County Commissioner who says he is misunderstood when he told a constituent not to participate in the changing of Lackawanna’ County’s form of government, because said commissioner helped the constituent’s son obtain a $30,000 a year job.
Let’s get to the last one: I spoke about this on Friday, ripping the shameful nature of “public servants,” who dangle these jobs in front of people like they’re giving them the keys to the kingdom. I said if these leaders were more savvy in the arena of economic development, no one would want their crumbs when they could be pulling down $70 k in private industry.
A texter to the station said I was being “arrogant,” insulting all the people who make less than $30 and listen to our station. The person said they would be turning off the show. Just like Pavlov’s dogs, these listeners subscribe to the philosophy that’s trending in our society that Big Daddy Government is doing just fine as the entity that puts bread on the table and gas in the truck. It’s time to realize this kind of dependence is what keeps us indebted and beholden to people who are no more deserving of accolades than the guy who makes payroll at the plant. You don’t see that individual getting a building named for him, do you?
My point is that people here have been conditioned to shut up, pay out, humbly beg for crumbs from the table of patronage, and retain the status quo on behalf of those who possess the power. That’s how Luzerne County got in the mess that it did. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you see an injustice, think about saying something. You don’t have to tell your next door neighbor, but the F.B.I. in Philadelphia might be keen on finding out.